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Preview: Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler/Hamburg Ballet at Harris Theater

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The creation of life, death and grieving, pure beauty, perfect love—these were the bold colors on John Neumeier’s palate when he made the strokes for his monumental, abstract masterpiece, set to Mahler’s Third Symphony. Neumeier’s magnum opus, choreographed in 1975, is a massive, ambitious work set to the entirety of Mahler’s score: six movements that invite the viewer into an unadorned, dreamlike landscape of archetypes, pure feeling and dreams. The Third Symphony is an emotionally driven ballet—sometimes to a fault—but the unflagging sincerity of the choreography and the dancers performing it (Neumeier, a Milwaukee native, has been the primary choreographer for the Hamburg Ballet for decades) make moments that could feel maudlin in the hands of another into the hallmarks of genius. The piece has been performed the world over by the Hamburg Ballet and other celebrated companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet. The Harris Theater engagement is the only performance of the Third Symphony during the Hamburg Ballet’s U.S. tour. (Sharon Hoyer)

At the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph, (312)334-7777. Wednesday and Thursday, February 19 and 20 at 7:30pm. $40-$95.

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